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Study links gender gap in credit access among smallholder farmers to inefficiency

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The existence of gender gap in credit access among smallholder farmers has been identified as a major challenge hampering Technical Efficiency in smallholder agriculture in the country.

According to a study conducted by the Nigeria Institute of Social and Economic Research (NISER), Ibadan, Oyo State, during its monthly research seminar series titled: Gender Gap In Credit Use And Farm-Level Technical Efficiency In Small Holder Agriculture, the existence of gender gap of six per cent in credit access and a significant gender gap of N529, 000 in average loan size in favour of male headed households has been unveiled.

Descriptive analysis of the study revealed that male-headed households received twice-average loan size of a household headed by a woman.“Socio-economic analysis of gender gap for most measures of human capital development such as literacy rate, access to formal education, having post primary education and access to extension services were significantly biased against female-headed households.

“All these factors were found to be a major and significant determinant of credit access and loan size in the two-stage Heckman model analysis. Though the use of critical efficiency induced inputs such as fertilizer and improved seeds were found to be generally sub-optimum, gender gap analysis confirmed that it was biased against female-headed households. This may not be unconnected with the gender gap biased in average loan size,” the report read.

The study explained that other channels through which credit use impact on Technical Efficiency include the interactions of loan size with land ownership, use of improved seeds, hired labour and use of fertilizer, as all were positive with the estimated co-efficient significant at five per cent.

It concluded that efforts at enhancing Technical Efficiency for female headed households must tackle access to and use of credit and such intervention must focus on relaxing land as major collateral for loan and deepening formal and informal financial education among women in the country.

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